התוכן העיקרי

Rehabilitation and competitive sports

ILAN believes that sport activities are a crucial and inseparable part of treating the disabled. Sports improve not only their physical condition, but their mental, psychological, and social wellbeing as well.

According to surveys, the physiological aspects of rehabilitation come hand-in-hand with psychological changes that in turn lead to social changes and significant improvement in self-image and self-confidence. The goals of rehabilitation are, of course, to improve physical, social, and vocational capabilities to a point that will allow impaired individuals the chance to participate in normal life, taking into consideration the limitations of their disabilities, and to provide the resources they lack for realizing their maximum potential for integration into society.

Therapeutic Sports

ILAN operates two large sports centers, one in Ramat Gan and one in Qiriat Haim, both of which offer sports facilities meeting the highest international standards. They both offer rehabilitation for children from an extremely young age, in fact, from the moment they are diagnosed with a disability and are referred for rehabilitation by the medical establishment. The branches of sports offered are varied and include therapeutic swimming and horseback riding, bicycle riding, basketball, wheelchair tennis, table tennis, rowing, wheelchair-bound dance troupes, rugby, and much more.

Therapeutic Swimming - Hydrotherapy Treatment

Over the years, ILAN has allocated a considerable portion of its resources to developing sport activities for the physically handicapped. We believe that sports are unsurpassed as a therapeutic agent for disabled persons, from both the physical and psychological points of view.    

Therapeutic swimming (hydrotherapy) is not a new concept, but it is in line with ILAN's professional policy aimed at offering the most advanced and productive programs and therapies to its client population. It is one of our most effective programs, both as a leisure activity and as therapy, immeasurably contributing to the development of the individual. It is recommended for muscle development and improvement of the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of children and adults alike. It also contributes immensely to their self-confidence and self-esteem.

The program is held throughout the country. Children and adults come to specially-equipped pools for one- or two-hour hydrotherapy sessions held in very small groups; the sessions are adjusted to match the various physical disabilities of the participants.

ILAN participates in financing the therapeutic swimming program in two ways:

* If financial assistance is needed for participation, families can approach the Individual Aid Committee at the relevant ILAN branch. The committees, composed of social workers, examine each application and base their decisions on professional referrals and recommendations. Submission of receipts for therapy sessions is required for reimbursement.

* Therapeutic swimming is also offered through various educational frameworks - the ILAN kindergartens, schools, and enrichment centers.

Interested? Please call your closest ILAN branch for more details.

Therapeutic Horseback Riding

ILAN offers various treatments and modes of therapy for people suffering from physical impairment and neuromuscular disabilities. Therapeutic horseback riding is one of the most recommended, and is conducted under the guidance of specially trained instructors. An individual program is developed for each child or adult, and most prove to be good learners.    

Horseback riding helps disabled individuals by reducing muscle tension and improving their balance reflex. It offers an invaluable experience in movement and mobility usually not accessible to them because of their disabilities. In addition, learning to care for the horses, when possible, encourages the development of physical, psychological, and social skills.

ILAN participates in financing therapeutic horseback riding lessons in two ways:

* A portion of the expenditures of about fifteen families is subsided by individual aid assistance every year. To obtain this grant, an application for financial assistance should be addressed to the Individual Aid Committee at the relevant ILAN branch. The committees, composed of social workers, examine each application and base their decisions on professional referrals and recommendations. Submission of receipts for therapy sessions is required for reimbursement.

* ILAN also finances therapeutic horseback riding lessons through its kindergartens, schools and social activities clubs.

If you are interested in this program, please contact the ILAN branch in your area.

Competitive Sports

As the children begin to mature, starting with school age they have the added opportunity to participate in team and individual competitive sports activities. They have the use of specially-adapted sports equipment, outdoor fields and gymnasiums, competitive quality swimming pools, basketball teams, tennis, table tennis, rowing, and more.

Sal-Gal

A unique form of wheelchair basketball was developed at ILAN's Sports Center in Ramat Gan. In Sal-Gal, disabled teenagers (about 60% of a team) play together with non-disabled. All the players are in wheelchairs.

The objective of Sal-Gal is to emphasize the players' self-image as athletes rather than handicapped. It also exposes the other players to the disabled on the basis of the latter's strengths and not their weaknesses.

Besides the social benefits, the project lays the groundwork for the future of Israeli wheelchair basketball. Today Sal-Gal games are played in the framework of a national youth league. Despite the glorious past of disabled sports in the country, this is the first time a league for adolescent players has existed, and is especially important because it includes both handicapped and non-handicapped youths.

In order to recruit non-handicapped players, Sal-Gal demonstrations with veteran players and teenagers playing in the league take place in schools around the country. New players are also recruited from among the families and friends of the disabled players. Click here for more information.

It goes without saying that as a result of the competitive activities discussed above many of ILAN's outstanding athletes go on to take part in competitions in Israel and abroad, and ultimately become Paralympic athletes.

Through the years many Paralympic champions have come out of ILAN. As a result, a special sports committee was formed in 2007 to apportion the financial and professional resources necessary to develop the various sports and encourage competitive and Olympic sports. At the behest of the committee, ILAN decided to grant sport scholarships to outstanding athletes and subsidize Paralympic athletes.

Nine ILAN athletes participated in the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing. The delegation returned with four silver medals. Three of the silver medals went to  Inbal Pissaro from Haifa for swimming and the other to Shraga Weinberg and Boaz Kramer from Rama Gan for tennis. 


Inbal Pizaro

Dance

Dancing is also popular at the ILAN sport centers, whether in the framework of dance troupes (the one in Qiriat Haim has been in existence for twenty years), or at social activities, events, and parties.

Both wheelchair dancing lessons and dance troupes can be found at ILAN branches and facilities all over the country. The ensembles consist of non-disabled volunteers dancing with wheelchair-bound dancers; for example, Stars in Movement in Hod Hasharon, Galglei Reni  in Rehovot, Ness Ziona, and Yavne, Galgalei Rishon, and more.